Cash-for-work: Helping Bring Hope while Sustaining Human Dignity

April 19, 2021

40 year-old Malekah with some of her family standing in front of their home tent in Habil Barq village, Ba-Tais District, Abyan governorate | Photo credit: UNDP Yemen/2021

As a result of the ongoing war in Yemen, regular access to water and adequate sanitation services have become extremely difficult. The situation is even worse for the most war-impacted communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs). To support these communities, the European Union has funded the Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP) in Yemen since mid-2017.

SPCRP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and addresses a number of interventions, one of which is providing income-generating opportunities to lift thousands of Yemeni families out of extreme poverty and unemployment.

The project’s cash-for-work programme has contributed to improving household income and enhancing the purchasing power of affected communities, in addition to restoring community infrastructure and improving access to key services. In the Habil Barq village – in Yemen’s southern Abyan governorate – families affected by the conflict were provided the resources, skills, and tools to be able to stand on their feet again, establishing renewed hope and helping them regain their dignity.

Supporting a Family of Eleven

Malekah Mohammed, 40, has been severely affected by the ongoing conflict. Following the family’s displacement and the death of her husband, she was forced to become the sole provider for her 10 children.

Two years ago, Malekah’s family was forced to flee to Abyan after war broke out in Mocha, located in the western part of Taiz governorate. The grueling journey fleeing from the conflict took two full days of travel. “We cannot go back to our villages after having our houses destroyed by the fighting,” Malekah says with a voice full of heartbreak.

Malekah’s 10 sons relied entirely on their father, who worked as a bus driver to provide for the family. Following his death a few months ago, the family lost its sole source of income, forcing Malekah and her grown sons to seek work to feed the family of 11. “We worked for a small daily wage, collecting livestock feed and firewood in nearby farms,” she explains. Malekah’s family could only get limited assistance before cash-for-work came to Habil Barq. The sanitation project was the first to significantly benefit the community.

The Social Fund for Development (SFD) carried out the latrines’ cash-for-work project as part of SPCRP. The project provided war-affected families with work opportunities near their home and away from violence and instability, as well as offering access to decent sanitation facilities close to their homes.

Malekah received YER 370,000 (€ 358) for her work, spending her income on construction materials, supporting household expenses, and caring for her newest baby. “We’re so grateful for this support, it improved our life dramatically and helped us pay for our needs and household expenses,” explains Malekah.

“We were forced to go into the wild to relieve ourselves. The children were sometimes bitten by snakes and scorpions or wounded by thorns. At night, the situation was even worse because there was no light, and the children were terrified. I always worried for their safety,” describes Malekah.

With SPCRP’s support, Malekah and the other families who benefited from this project now have a better and more decent life, with renewed hope for the continued improvement of their living conditions.

The Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP) is funded and supported by the European Union (EU) and implemented in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and The Social Fund for Development (SFD). The USD$28 million SPCRP enhanced the purchasing capacity of vulnerable communities while restoring community infrastructure and improving access to and delivery of key services through short-term employment, provision of solar energy equipment, rehabilitating healthcare facilities, and building the capacities of communities and local authorities.